Saturday, March 21, 2020

Alston Morgan - Update on Morgan Y-DNA Research

I have been working through my cousins Y-DNA matches and MAY have finally broken through a brick wall with one of the matches who descends from Alston Morgan (1803-1860). The Y-DNA match had claimed that the parents of Alston Morgan were William Morgan and Martha Reeder. However, after more than a year of researching William and Martha Reeder Morgan, I now think these two have been confused as the parents of Alston Morgan.

So, I started over with atDNA matches to see if I had missed anything. Going back through more than twenty family trees that listed Alston Morgan (most having his parents listed as William Morgan and Martha Reeder), I found one lone tree connected to an account of a DNA match for my cousin who had an Anderson Morgan born about 1783 in Chatham County, North Carolina in his tree and listed as Anderson's son was Alston Morgan. Listed as Alston Morgan's wife is Ann Edwards whose family is from Chatham County, North Carolina. Attached to this family tree I found the Alston Morgan Story written by a descendant of the Edwards family.

The Alston Morgan Story
This is the story of Alston Morgan. It begins in Chatham County, North Carolina where Alston was born in 1803. His father Anderson Morgan served in the North Carolina Milia during the War of 1812, and was awarded a land grant on Hurricane Creek in Wilson County, Tennessee. Anderson was present on his land grant in the 1820 census. It was noted that he lived among several Edwardses, some of whom were from Chatham County, and were likely old friends. Anderson disappeared from the records afer the 1820 census, and is assumed to have died. He was replaced at that location by Alston Morgan.
Some genealogists may have picked a different father for Alston. But Anderson Morgan was the only Morgan on Hurricane Creek in early Wilson County, and was at the correct location in the censuses to be Alston's father. Anderson Morgan is the only feasible Morgan for the father of Alston Morgan.

Alston has been confused with Moses A Morgan, of Bedford County. It is not known if the two are related.

Alston is a surname, and there were Alstons in Wilson County. A guess is that Anderson Morgan's wife was an Alston.

There is a Wilson County marriage record for Alston Morgan to Ann Edwards, in January 1820. The bondsman for the marriage was Eaton Edwards. Eaton was the son of John Edwards, formerly of Chatham County, NC. This marriage record is the only record in the lifetime of Ann Edwards. She was not even in the census enumerations for anyone. But Ann gave the gift of life to five children, and passed on her DNA. That DNA identified Ann as the daughter of Aaron Edwards, of Chatham County, NC and Hurricane Creek in Wilson County, TN. Ann and Alston were neighbors before they were married. Ann died in or about 1839, as indicated by Alston's remarriage to Julie Ann Abernathy in 1840. Ann and Alston had the following children:
unknown 1820-1828
Charles A Morgan 1828
William Newton Morgan 1829
Jasper R Morgan 1830
Robert W Morgan 1834
Marion Morgan 1836

Aaron Edwards, formerly of Chatham County, NC, sold his property in mid-1803 and moved to newly formed Wilson County, TN. He and his brothers John and Robert are listed as early settlers of Wilson County in Drakes Early History of Wilson County. At the time of his move, Aaron and his wife Elizabeth Hackney had two children. It is believed that Ann was born in Wilson County in about 1804.

Eaton Edwards, the bondsman for Ann's marriage, was her first cousin.
Alston Morgan's second wife, Julia Ann Abernathy, was also a neighbor before her marriage. Born in 1818, her father Charles Abernathy lived two doors over from Alston on Hurricane Creek. Julia Ann finished raising the five children of Ann, and had eight children of her own:
Alexander Morgan 1841
Martha Morgan 1842
Tennessee Morgan 1846
Susan Morgan 1848
James C Morgan 1851
Joseph Morgan 1852
Eliza Morgan 1854
Polly Morgan 1858

Julia Ann was in the 1850, 1860, and 1880 censuses. In the 1880 census at age 61, she was living with her sons Joseph and James, and James' wife and children.
There is no 1890 census, and a search of 1900 censuses failed to find Julia Ann. The 1880 census was the last record in her life.
Many Ancestry family trees have different names for Alston. The only name that ever appears in his historical records is Alston Morgan. The historically correct name is Alston Morgan.
Alston died after the birth of his last child in 1858. He resided on Hurricane Creek all of his adult life. Some of the his descendants still live in the Hurricane Creek area of Wilson County, from Gladeville to present day Norene. He may be buried in one of the cemeteries with his descendants.

Written by an Edwards descendant 11/4/2018

I was very excited to find Alston Morgan’s story as I now had a link back to Chatham County, North Carolina where it is believed my Morgan’s are from. I have been working off and on with this Edwards/Morgan descendant and learned he has done a great deal of DNA and traditional research on the Edwards family and has some good leads on the Morgan family that married into this line.

Ann Edwards's parents are Aaron Edwards and Elizabeth Hackney. Her maternal grandparents are Joseph Hackney and Nancy Stewart. The Edwards and Hackney families can be found in Chatham County land records along with the Morgan, Brewer and Stewart families in the late 1700s. The Brewer family has connections to the Stewart and Morgan families through John Stewart who married Rachel Morgan, the daughter of Charles Morgan II who died in 1787 in Chatham County, North Carolina. The Joseph Morgan listed in the Grantors section below is the son of Charles Morgan II (died in 1787) and the brother of Rachel Morgan who married John Stewart.

From there, things just began falling into place, at least with the Edwards family.

Connected to the Edwards family is the Brewer family. Two daughters of Oliver Brewer, Hannah and Rebecca, from Chatham County, married brothers, John Edwards and William Edwards. I am now researching if John and William's father is the Philip Edwards who is mentioned in the Revolutionary War pension file of John Edwards, who ended up in Jefferson County, Tennessee – the same place William Morgan and wife, Amelia Brewer (from Chatham County, North Carolina) ended up.

You may remember from a previous Blog post that Oliver Brewer is the father of Edward Brewer who migrated to Randolph County, North Carolina. In Edward Brewer's Revolutionary War pension file is found a statement from John Stewart and his two sisters, Barbara and Elizabeth, who married brothers John Russell and William Russell. I can't help but wonder if Nancy Stewart, who married Joseph Hackney, is a relation from a previous generation.

Philip Edwards had a land grant for 100 acres in Montgomery County, North Carolina on the waters of Uhary (Uwharrie) river beginning at ... a corner of his 50-acre tract granted to Andrew Dennis [can this mean that Andrew Dennis sold these 50 acres to Philip Edwards?] ... ran to Hardy Morgan’s line ... to John Stewarts line ... to Bunnel’s corner ... entered 16 Jul 1818 and issued 19 Dec 1820.

Philip Edwards is most likely from Chatham County, North Carolina and migrated to Montgomery County, North Carolina shortly before John Stewart and Charles Morgan came to Montgomery.

I think Andrew Dennis probably sold land to the Morgan's when they came to Montgomery County [based on the verbiage in the land grant above]. A Zachariah Morgan is noted in a Newspaper article as a neighbor of Andrew Dennis in 1813 when some of his land was sold for taxes. Zachariah Morgan provided a statement in John Stewart's Rev War file and I think Zachariah may be John's brother-in-law, sister to John's wife Rachel.

How does all this tie into my cousins Y-DNA matches?

I think it is very possible that Anderson Morgan is indeed the father of Alston Morgan and Anderson is probably the brother of my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Morgan. Anderson most likely married a daughter of one of the Edwards or Alston families, in Chatham County, North Carolina around 1800. When the Edwards’ family moved to Wilson County, Tennessee, Anderson Morgan and his wife went with them, especially since Anderson had a land grant for that place.

About the same time, Charles Morgan II sold his land in Chatham County and moved his family to Montgomery County, North Carolina where his sister Rachel Morgan Stewart was already living. Charles Morgan II is the father of Charles Morgan III who married a woman named Delilah. This couple, Charles and Delilah, are the parents of Willis Morgan who married Bethany Bailey Delamothe, the widow of Henry Delamothe Willis and Bethany migrated to Campbell County, Georgia in the 1840s. The first match listed below descends through Willis and Bethany. I think my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Morgan, may be the uncle of Willis Morgan.

I have one more match to solve. I have sent multiple emails to this match but have heard nothing back. He has Charles Morgan listed as his earliest known ancestor and I have my fingers crossed that this match is also a descendant of Charles Morgan I who died 1787 in Chatham County, North Carolina.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

What Tales Can Pension Records Tell?

Destroyed records due to several county courthouse fires makes it challenging to research the first families of Montgomery County, North Carolina. I learned early on that Montgomery County is not one of those counties where the paper trail falls neatly into place because of plentiful records. No, Montgomery County requires one to roll up their sleeves and dig in their heels – and prepare for the hard work ahead. Research is a slow and arduous journey in counties like Montgomery where paper trails have huge gaps of time in them. On the flip side, because all these early families are so intertwined, you are sure to find, while browsing through what records are left, some tidbit of information on an ancestor – even if it is not the one you are specifically looking for.

And so, it is with Joseph Morgan, my fourth great grandfather. I must rely on others records where I might find some mention of him or at the very least, a mention of something that will help me understand the events of the day and add to my timeline for him. In other words, because he did not live long enough to accumulate a record trail, and even if he did, it was burned in the early courthouse fire, I must piece his life together based on the records of others.

Susannah Smart, my fourth great grandmother through daughter Priscilla Morgan, married twice. Her first marriage was to Joseph Morgan who died either in the War of 1812 or shortly thereafter. Regardless of what one sees in Ancestry trees or other online (or offline) family trees, message boards or printed material, only three children, and not four, were born to this marriage; Matthew (1810), Priscilla (1812) and Joseph (1814).

That fourth child I am talking about is Mary Morgan Dennis, the wife of James Dennis, who has been attached to Joseph and Susannah Smart Morgan by many researchers, but Mary Morgan Dennis is not the daughter of Joseph and Susannah. Some research I’ve read suggests that perhaps Joseph was married prior to Susannah and Mary is his daughter by a first wife, but if that is the case why is she missing on the 1810 Census with Joseph, Susannah and Matthew? And why is she missing on every Census with Susannah and her second husband, Joel Henderson? Most importantly, Mary Morgan Dennis was born about 1798; Susannah was born about 1792 and would have been 6 years old when Mary was born, so she cannot be Mary’s mother. Mary just does not fit.

Most researchers tend to think that Joseph died in the War of 1812 and I suppose, like many, he could have been exposed to any number of diseases that raged through a military camp. I tend to think, based on the available casualty list, that Joseph did not die in a battle or skirmish. The only US Service Member to die in the War of 1812 named Joseph Morgan was a Seaman (Navy) who died early in the war on 12 Dec 1812 and my Joseph Morgan was in the Militia (Army) and was home in Jan 1814, so he could not be dead in 1812.

I have tried to narrow down a death date for Joseph and the best I can come to is between Jan 1814 [after the conception of his third child] and Nov/Dec 1815 when his wife, Susannah remarried to Joel Henderson. I know Joseph was home with his wife in Jan 1814 because his son Joseph was conceived about that time and was born about ten months later in Nov 1814. I know Joseph Jr is the son of Joseph Sr because Y-DNA testing confirms this Morgan line. Yes, I know there are exceptions, I guess Joseph Jr could be the son of a brother of Joseph Sr, but I have no reason to believe that line of thinking. Autosomal DNA evidence for descendants of all three Morgan children leads me to believe that all three of the Morgan children belong to Joseph Sr because descendants of all three children sit very nicely in DNA centiMorgan ranges so let’s not create problems and complicate things by over thinking. If something makes sense and is logical, then we should just go with it unless or until evidence makes us change our minds.

A timeline of events for Joseph and Susannah is short and simple.

1809: Joseph and Susannah married
Aug 1810: Montgomery County, North Carolina Census conducted, one male 16-25, one female 16-25, one male child under 5. Obviously, this is Joseph, Susannah and their son, Matthew, born abt. 1810 per future Census records [no daughters listed]
Apr 1811: Priscilla conceived
Feb 1812: Priscilla born, daughter of Joseph and Susannah Morgan [date per her gravestone]
Jun 1812: War of 1812 declared
Aug 1813: Military Census shows Joseph enlisted in 7 Reg't NC Militia
Jan 1814: Conception of Joseph Morgan Jr
Nov 1814: Birth of Joseph Morgan Jr, son of Joseph and Susannah Smart Morgan [date per his gravestone]
Feb 1815: War of 1812 ends with Treaty of Ghent
May 1815: Pay voucher [claimed – by Joseph? Or Susannah? -> this is key to further narrowing down the time of death for Joseph]
Nov/Dec 1815: Possible marriage of Joel Henderson and Susannah Smart Morgan
Jan 1816: Conception of Nathaniel Henderson
Nov 1816: Birth of Nathaniel Henderson

The two records I found of Joseph’s service are a muster card showing his rank and the company he was attached to and his pay voucher. The company muster roll has a date of Aug 1813 and the pay voucher shows that Joseph was issued pay on 7 May 1815 and states he served in Capt. Elijah Haltom’s company. The pay voucher, which looks to have been paid by a warrant [land] was claimed, that is what the hole punched through it means. I have written the National Archives and asked if they have any records on when the Warrant was claimed and by whom. If Joseph claimed the warrant, then I will know he died after the date of that claim. But, if Susannah claimed the warrant, then I will know Joseph died before the date of the claim. I hope to hear back from the National Archives soon.

Some of the other men who served from Montgomery County lived long enough, or at least their spouses did, to claim a pension. Searching internet archives, I found a list of pay vouchers located at for those who served from Montgomery County. I can cross reference these names at Fold3 to discover if any had pension files and if so, what was written in the files. All these men knew each other, they all lived at the same time, in the same county, worked together, attended church together and enlisted in the service together. Their lives are forever united by the War of 1812.

Hardy Morgan, whom I believe MAY be the brother of Joseph, served in the same company as Joseph, only for a few short weeks, per his widow’s pension file at Fold3. However, I found in the pension file of Abraham Cochran [see below] that Hardy served for a period of 6 months. Hardy and his wife, Nancy Hearne, migrated west to Pontotoc County, Mississippi and after Hardy’s death, Nancy migrated with the rest of her family to Lincoln County, Arkansas.

Two William Morgan’s from Montgomery County, North Carolina served in Capt. Elijah Haltom’s company. There may be a relation between the two, but it is not father and son.

One William Morgan [Jr] married a woman named Elizabeth; her maiden name is not known. This William is the father of Mary Polly Morgan who married William Hamilton. He served from 1 Feb 1814 to 15 Mar 1814 when, in his file, he is noted as dying in a camp in South Carolina from measles. Elizabeth remained his widow and raised Mary, the only heir of William Morgan [Jr], alone.

The other William Morgan [Sr] served from 1 Feb 1814 to 31 Jul 1814. He completed his tour and, along with his wife, Amelia Brewer Morgan, who was from Chatham County, North Carolina, migrated to Jefferson County, Tennessee where he lived the rest of his life. His file makes note that his first wife’s name is Nancy and she died in Montgomery County, North Carolina.

Abraham Cochran received his pay voucher on 7 May 1815, just as all the other men did. His file shows that he married Rebecca Luther in Montgomery County and this couple migrated to Georgia. My first cousin three times removed, Parsons Harris Morris, Register of Deeds in Troy at the time, responded to an inquiry about obtaining marriage records for Abraham Cochran and Hardy Morgan.

Abraham Cochran and Rebecca Luther were married in Montgomery County by Hardy Morgan, Justice of the Peace, in Dec 1817 at the house of Michael Luther, probably the father of Rebecca. Interesting note by a woman by the name of Rebecca Waters, she states that Hardy Morgan was gone for 6 months, contradicting Hardy’s own file at Fold3 that states he was gone for only 2 weeks.

David Blalock, on the 11th day of Feb 1851 appeared before a Justice of the Peace in Stanly County, created from Montgomery County in 1841, and declared that he enlisted in the War of 1812 as a Private at Henderson, Montgomery County, about the 25th day of May 1812 for a term of two years. Two witnesses, Daniel and Martha Freeman, provided a sworn statement that they knew both David and his wife Martha before and at the time of their marriage and that Martha’s maiden name is Dennis.

George W. Hearn made application for a military pension on 23 July 1853 in Weakly County, Tennessee. George claimed that he enlisted as a Private in the N.C. Militia on 1 Feb 1814 in Montgomery County, North Carolina. He served until 31 Jul 1814. He married Milla on 14 Jan 1813 in Montgomery County, North Carolina. This couple migrated to Tennessee.

Colonel William Washington [W. W.] Harris applied for his pension in Sep 1853 in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. In his statement he claimed he enlisted in the service in Montgomery County, North Carolina for the term of 6 months. He continued in service for his full term and was discharged at Salisbury, North Carolina about Aug 1814, afterwards he migrated to South Carolina.

Wiley Harris enlisted as a Private in Captain Joshua Craven’s Company and Colonel Pearson’s Regiment and served from Feb 1814 to Jul 1814. His wife, Nancy Hancock Harris, daughter of Rev. John Hancock, filed for a widow’s pension in Mar 1878, Wiley died in 1869. Most interesting in this file is the confusion between brother’s, Wiley and Willis. The War Department repeatedly asked for confirmation that Wiley and Willis were not the same person. In a letter dated Jan 1879, G. W. Harris, son of Wiley and Nancy, confirms that Willis Harris was a brother to Wiley and resided in Wilson County, Tennessee.

While researching pension files at Fold3, I came across Archibald Partain who claimed that he served in the War of 1812 under Captain Willis Harris, the brother of Wiley Harris. I found no payment voucher for him and his pension claim was rejected, however the genealogical treasure left in this file may have solved a mystery of what happened to Martha Harris, daughter of Charles Green Harris and Mary Hearne.

Archibald Partain states he married Martha Harris on 5 Dec 1824 in Montgomery County, North Carolina. This couple migrated to Tennessee and then to Kentucky. Of interest here is that Mary Hearne Harris had an Aunt named Dovey who married a Partin, his first name is not known, and this couple, along with brother George Hearne and Willis Harris, migrated to Wilson County, Tennessee.

There is certainly a connection here and more research is required.

These are just a few records that are available online that provide a wealth of information about the citizens who called Montgomery County, North Carolina home. While I did not find anything new on Joseph, I have found much on other ancestors and can now work to incorporate all this information into my family tree.